There are many people who work at night. People in the health sector, night watchmen and those who travel frequently on business often have to work through the night hours because of their profession. Night work among other things our quality of life. Life expectancy considerably reduced.
It's not like we can just eliminate these jobs. Many of these night shifts concern basic public services, that need to be offered around the clock. Still, there are many voices arguing that we should at least limit the amount of time we spend working at night. As more and more services. businesses are offered 24 hours a day or. have open, the number of night jobs is also increasing. In addition, there are those occupations that build roads at night or clean buildings that operate during the day, such as train stations or bus stops. Those who get us home safely at night. Nurses, doctors and specialists in other lines of work also care for their patients and clients at night. Most of these employees do not work exclusively at night, but in rotating day and night shifts. In Germany, more than three million people work either exclusively or partially on the night shift.
What happens when you don't sleep at night?
When we don't sleep at night, we don't rest the way we normally do. There are biological reasons for this: Our brains are programmed to sleep at night. People who work at night sleep about one to two hours less than everyone else. Only sufferers under the age of 35 manage to get their normal amount of sleep – almost as if they don't work night shifts.
But it's not just about the number of hours we sleep, it's also about the quality of our sleep. Our body produces a hormone called melatonin at night. This hormone controls our biological rhythms by signaling our bodies when it is night and when it is day, when we should be asleep and when we should be awake. Therefore it messes with our hormone balance when we don't sleep at night. This is one reason why women who work at night Notice changes in their menstruation or even be more susceptible to breast cancer Become. An additional effect of night work is that Lose an average of five years of life for every 15 years they work the night shift.
Aside from the long-term consequences described above, employees working night shifts should Often more easily irritable. You have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, adopting poorer eating habits, suffering from digestive problems and chronic fatigue. Often, these people even start to hate their family and social life.
Reduce the effects of night work
If you have to work at night, you should absolutely follow the advice below to ensure that your body can continue to function as normally as possible.
No one >35 years of age should take night shifts. If possible, you should avoid night shifts if you are older than 35. This is the age limit up to which your body recovers more easily from this type of work. Try to sleep before work – preferably when it gets dark. An hour and a half of sleep before work is best, around 8 or 9 p.m. When you sleep before the night shift, you take advantage of the fact that our brain is already producing melatonin at that time. Wear dark sunglasses when you leave work. If you leave the workplace wearing dark sunglasses, you can fool your brain. It then believes it is still dark. At home, you can lower the blinds to forget that it is daytime. Take melatonin. If your body does not manage to produce melatonin in sufficient quantity, be sure to take melatonin half an hour before bedtime to simulate a natural sleep cycle. Isolate yourself from noise. You should do everything humanly possible to sleep in a quiet environment. If you hear loud noise while sleeping, it can affect the quality of your sleep. Get a checkup on your current health status. As a night shift worker, you should get a physical to determine if your health is up to the demands of night work. If you work in healthcare, you'd better stop working night shifts if your health suffers as a result.